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Being part of the Waseda Student Culture and Arts Festival 2012

Kazuki Nakahara
Stage director/producer

Every student at Waseda knows of it and everyone has passed in front of it. In what can be called Waseda's most famous symbol, the Okuma Auditorium, "Waseda Student Culture and Arts Festival 2012" was held last month on June 14-17.
This is an event like, as the name suggests, a festival, with 24 projects by Waseda cultural circles and 45 groups participating, with presentations and performances over four days, and this year marked the third holding of the event. The number of participating groups increases every year with a great variety of performances covering many areas such as cheerleading, stand-up comics, tap dancers, yosakoi, Japanese drums, music festivals, juggling, traditional Japanese dance, flamenco, orchestra, and electronic organ performances. Also, at the Ono Memorial Auditorium, “Waseda Theatre Week” was held and an exhibition was held in the Waseda Gallery. This event, where so many different genres are performed together, is becoming a full and stimulating event to the extent, whether for students or not, that has never been seen outside of the Student Culture and Art Festival.

I thoroughly felt this, and only at Waseda, when being involved as stage director at the Okuma Auditorium.

A stage director's role is to put together a plan for changes and the opening and closing of the performance to ensure the show proceeds without a hitch, and the nature of the role means you can continuously see behind the scenes of each group. That isn't simply the program, but you can also see directly the people involved in the program.
What I strongly felt then was that every student from every group worked hard for their own group, and they were enjoying it.
When you think hard about it, in an extra-curricular activity where they aren't bound by any contracts and receive no compensation, if they didn't enjoy it they may not continue, but even so, everyone was full of life.

Where these lively and cheerful students from so many diverse groups gather to form a single event can only be found in the "culture" of Waseda, and that is a point I felt proud of as a graduate.

The essence of art culture

After graduating from Waseda and going out to work with people who can be called professionals, what I strongly felt from meeting people who have always ploughed along down that path is that they are always excited by their creations and are enjoying their work from their hearts.
This is, to be more precise, what I felt at the Student Culture and Art Festival, had the same essence.
Even if art cultures didn't exist, to put it bluntly, we could live without any trouble. Actually, there are many people who live their lives without coming into contact with art culture.
However, as a person involved in art culture, I can unabatedly state that, of lifestyles that embrace art culture and those that don't, the former will live their lives with rich hearts.
Having a rich heart moves the spirit and breeds emotion. To do this, the performer must also move his spirit. I believe that that essence carries a desire for expression, and there is a continuing excitement at being able to perform that expression.

The possibilities of Waseda Student Culture and Arts Festival

When something you intend to do yourself is enjoyable, that point becomes a strong pivot, and you think of what to express yourself, take responsibility yourself, take action yourself, and make decisions yourself.
In other words, "you stand up yourself." You are independent.
This is not only in the art culture field, but necessary where ever you go, no matter what circle you attempt to leap into.
However, at times, "you" can also tend to be selfish.
You do things because you want to do them. Because you thought of it, you do it that way. So what is the borderline between independence and selfishness?
I believe it is the place where, no matter how you try to create something yourself, you are conscious of "the others" involved or not.
That is, no matter how outstanding the work is, unless you are not involved with other people when creating that work, then it would be carried out in your own world.
In other words, ultimately, culture is nothing more than what is born from the relationships between people.
It is easy to understand for stage arts and performing arts, first and foremost, if there is no one to watch them, they are not complete.
Also, in regards to the Student Culture and Art Festival, there are university staff and auditorium staff to set up the venue, and there are also students from other groups.

You exist within the relationship of those people, and it is important whether you can feel the existence of your own culture or not. On this point, I felt that this includes the further possibilities of the Waseda Student Culture and Art Festival.
Being able to feel joy when your own group puts on a performance is very important. And, at the same time, how the audience feels when they watch it, what they think about the festival - including up until now, I think this event will become more stimulating and full of even more creativity, to the extent of the number of students involved in this event continuing to grow.
And if that can be achieved, I believe that more will be presented by students themselves, and with even more opportunities and foundations to present from, a new creativity will be formed.

Sending out Waseda student culture

Having a stage where you can do your own performance and being able to express what you want is truly a blessing and good fortune. And I think Waseda offers an unlimited amount of those opportunities.
That is because there is an abundance of people. Getting students with diverse values together and working with enthusiasm is characteristic of Waseda, and it's the most appealing point.
Noticing that point, looking towards other people, not only in your own world, working together, and creating new things from there, I believe that sends out the message of Waseda student culture.
In our age where world values are not uniform and individual values are looked at close up, I want you to notice the importance of involving yourself with other people, be grateful, and then deliver your creations without being afraid of something new.
And don't be "selfish", be "independent", and if you pass that on to your juniors, that will be a new page in the "culture" at Waseda. I hope for that, and I want to pay attention to the possibilities of Waseda and Waseda students from now own.

Kazuki Nakahara
Stage director/producer

Graduated from the Department of Humanities, School of Letters, Arts and Sciences I, Waseda University in 2007.
Was involved in English dramas and English musical group while at university, and learnt drama from professional producers and stage staff.
After graduation, started up a theatrical company in order to challenge how far they could go on their own and produced straight plays and wrote and directed original musicals.
Outside of the company, starting with acting guidance and producing children's musicals, he also takes part in musical play and musical production at Showa University of Music and Tokyo University of the Arts.
Away from producing, as a freelance stage director, he is involved in stage arts in any genre such as plays, musicals, contemporary dance and ballet.